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Sleep Technologist

Watch patients snooze in a lab to help with their sleep problems.

What does a Sleep Technologist do?

Sleeping seems easy enough to do, but many people have a significant amount of trouble doing it. They may wake up frequently, walk about in their sleep, or gasp for air while sleeping. These people often head to sleep clinics for help, and a Sleep Technologist performs testing to determine why they’re having those kinds of trouble.

When a patient comes to the sleep clinic for testing, you – the Sleep Technologist – attach electrodes to their head, chest, back, and fingers. You then place them in a cool, dark room and ask them to fall asleep. From an adjoining room, you monitor readings from all of the equipment you’ve attached, and write down those readings in the patient’s chart.

You watch your patient using a camera and television screen, and make a note when they move, as any movement can disturb the readings the equipment gives you. If your patient starts to have severe medical problems, such as an irregular heartbeat or extreme difficulty breathing, you notify the Doctor.

At the end of the study, you wake the patient up and remove the electrodes you’ve attached. You then write a report detailing how well the patient slept and what obstacles might have kept them from sleeping well. The Doctor reviews your report and the readings from your equipment before talking to the patient and giving recommendations.

As a Sleep Technologist, you must stay alert and awake even though the person you’re watching is in a deep, hypnotic sleep. You may develop a habit of chewing gum to help you keep moving. But take care not to pop your gum and wake the patient up!